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Gophers head to Penn State looking for back-to-back road wins - OPEN THREAD

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Can the Gophers notch their second road win in a row? Penn State is maybe the surprise team in the Big Ten this year and has a real shot at earning an NCAA Tournament bid. This game is crucial for both teams in that quest.

TV: ESPN / ESPN2
GameTime: 6:00 pm

Pos #25 - Minnesota Pnt/Gm Pnt/Gm Penn State Pos
PG Blake Hoffarber 13.9
4.8 Tim Frazier
G
G Rodney Williams 6.7 20.4
Talor Battle
G
F Trevor Mbakwe 13.6
13.6
Jeff Brooks
F
F Colton Iverson 6.0
10.4 David Jackson
F
C Ralph Sampson III 10.7 6.2 Andrew Jones
F
Bench Austin Hollins 4.3 2.0 Cammeron Woodyard
Bench
Bench Chip Armelin
4.0 3.0 Billy Oliver
Bench
Bench Maverick Ahanmisi
2.0
2.4 Jermaine Marshall
Bench

Wow, this might be the only team in the conference who has a bench that scores fewer than our bench. But there are three keys to beating Penn State.

  1. Defend Talor Battle
  2. Defend Talor Battle
  3. Defend Talor Battle

This guy beats teams by himself and when Penn State is playing well he does a good job of getting his teammates involved. I assume Tubby will go to the zone which will minimize my concern over who will be defending Battle one-on-one. But he can shoot from the outside and I fear we'll be so focused on him we'll lose Jeff Brooks, who shoots 44% from three, or even David Jackson. Also the zone was primarily effective at Iowa because they nobody willing to penetrate and get into the belly of the zone. Battle will absolutely get into the middle of our zone and potentially wreak some havoc. I fear Talor Battle more than anyone else in the conference!

KenPom Efficiency Stats Minnesota (38) Penn State (52)
Record 17-8 13-11
Pnt / Poss 1.119 (38) 1.120 (37)
Def Pnt / Poss 0.947 0.972
Off eFG% 50.7% 48.9%
Def eFG% 46.6% 50.5% (225)
Off Reb % 38.9% (10) 33.0%
Def Reb % 67.8% 70.5%
TO % 20.7% 17.8% (39)

Statistically we are rather similar on offense. We score with the same efficiency, they don't turn the ball over as much but we secure more offensive rebounds.

It should be noted that Penn State has beaten Illinois, Wisconsin and Michigan State (when they were still good) all at home. Looking at their schedule I believe pretty strongly that they'll lose all of their remaining games not against Minnesota (@Wis, @NW and home to OSU). So these two Gopher games are pretty huge.

I am not holding out a ton of hope for earning another road win here. We'll need to dominate the paint, that is our only shot at an identity and it is how we best operate offensively. Contain Battle, win the rebounding wars and play with some life. Do those things and we'll be OK, but that may be easier said than done.